Bill Hillman's


Weekly Online Fanzine
Issue 0552

ERB ECLECTICA ~ MOTES & QUOTES
ERB-Date: 2000.12.22
CONTENTS
1. First Golden Age of Children's Literature: ERB
2. L. Sprague De Camp Dies
3. ERB Arena: This week's combatants: Tarak vs Frank X.
4. Mystery Tarzan Painting from the Dan Koeppel Collection
5. Alain Valet: Great new fantasy artist from Belgium ~ A Selection of Story Generators
6. Tarcoons from the New Yorker Collection
7. OB Writes Home: Letter to Joan on February 5, 1945
8. A Great New Johnny Weissmuller Site
HAPPY HOLIDAY
1. CAUGHT IN OUR SITE:

Edgar Rice Burroughs | 1875-1950
PBS 
MASTERPIECE THEATRE: 

FIRST GOLDEN AGE 
OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/railway/age_text.html

by Abby Wolf

Well before the age of the multimedia corporation, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a multimedia corporation unto himself. Tarzan of the Apes was published in 1912. The next year, Burroughs founded the Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., publishing house. In 1934, with Tarzan an established Hollywood franchise, he founded Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises and Burroughs-Tarzan Pictures. Burroughs had not always been such a savvy businessman. Born into a well-off Chicago family, Burroughs was something of a ne'er-do-well, leaving a job in Salt Lake City in 1904 to take another in Chicago from 1906 to 1908, and leaving that to hold a number of managerial and clerical positions through 1912. In that year, Burroughs had his first literary success with the pulp novel Under the Moons of Mars, featuring the hero John Carter, who would go on to do battle with Martians in another 10 books. It was, however, the Tarzan series (35 volumes of it) that fueled the Edgar Rice Burroughs industry. With the Martian books, the Tarzan books, and any of the other series or stand-alone titles in his repertoire, Burroughs specialized in the formulaic boys' adventure: All of his plots follow a courageous and individualistic hero as he battles monstrous villains and rescues the imperiled female. What separated Burroughs from lesser pulp writers was a meticulous attention to detail, whether of real worlds or worlds he imagined. This attention to visual detail also meant that Burroughs's narratives were ready for the burgeoning film industry. Hollywood fell at least as hard for Tarzan as Jane did, and Burroughs's creation has been a staple of film since the silent Tarzan of the Apes debuted in 1917. If the books were for boys, the movies, with their muscle-bound, loincloth-clad heroes and their feisty Janes, were for girls, also.

Bios and Photos of British and American Authors:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/railway/age.html
G. A. Henty, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, H. Rider Haggard, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Beatrix Potter, Lucy Maud Montgomery, A.A. Milne, Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, and more.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/railway/links.html
Official Tarzan.org page included in the links page


2. L. Sprague De Camp Dies
L. Sprague de Camp

Award-winning Golden Age science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp died Nov. 6 at his home in Plano, Texas, his official Web site reported. He was 92.

In a career that spanned more than half a century, de Camp wrote more than 120 science fiction and fantasy books and several hundred short stories. He also wrote nonfiction in the fields of history, science and biography. In his career, de Camp won the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the First Fandom Pilgrim Award, the Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement in Fantasy, the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master Nebula Award and a Sidewise Special Achievement Award.

De Camp's best-known novel was Lest Darkness Fall, a time-travel story about an American who journeys back to ancient Rome to prevent the onset of the Dark Ages. De Camp was also known for writing humorous fantasy, particularly in the stories he wrote with Fletcher Pratt.

De Camp's short stories included "The Isolinguals" (1937); "The Gnarly Man" (1939); "The Wheels of If" (1940) and "A Gun for Dinosaur," the first in a series about time-traveling adventurer Reginald Rivers, to which Sprague de Camp wrote a number of sequels in the early 1990s that were collected as Rivers of Time. De Camp also wrote stories based on the character Conan the Barbarian, created by Robert E. Howard.

De Camp's wife of 60 years, Catherine Crook de Camp, died April 9. De Camp is survived by two sons, Lyman Sprague de Camp and Gerard Beekman de Camp; three grandchildren, Michael Rossman, Patricia Chalstrom and Veronica de Camp; two great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Samuel Rossman; and a brother, Lyman Lyon de Camp. De Camp, who served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, will be cremated, and his ashes, together with those of Catherine, will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Visit the L. Sprague De Camp Website
Works ~ Awards ~ Photos ~ Newsletter ~ Comments

3. THE ERB ARENA
A forum for verbal jousting and exchange of ideas between ERB warriors from different camps.

ERBzin-e and our stable of writers constantly encourage our readers to respond to our online. Creative people thrive on such feedback.

Over the last year we have been serializing Frank Blisard's ERB timeshift novel, Jack of Time. Many of our readers have indicated that they enjoy Frank's work and have been printing out the chapters for their pastich collections.

Presented here is a well-thought-out, passionate response from a devoted ERB fan and writer of the excellent Tarak The Tawny-Haired Barbarian adventure stories: Bob Woodley. Following Tarak's comments is Frank Blisard's explanation of his work.


Reader's and Writer's Comments on Frank Blisard's novel:
Jack of Time
In reference to Chapter 2 Parts B & C:
ERBzine 0433 JACK OF TIME: Ch. 2  (Pt. B)  Time's Fool - Graphics & Links Laden
     ERBzine 0433t JACK OF TIME: Ch. 2  (Pt. B)  Time's Fool - Fast-loading Text Version
       ERBzine 0434 JACK OF TIME: Ch. 2 (Pt. C)  Time's Tool - Graphics & Links Laden
       ERBzine 0434t JACK OF TIME: Ch. 2  (Pt. C)  Time's Tool - Text Version

Tarak writes:
Well, to me this is symbolic of much of what's wrong with modern writers, and certain what's wrong with modern writers who deal with ERB. "Taking on racism" is nothing more than a look-at-how-wonderful-I-am device for writers/media to utilize for the apparent reason that if you don't, no matter what your subject matter, you are supposedly a racist. It's absurd. It's like taking on child molesting or taking on Hitler. Not to mention that virtually nobody can even define racism in terms everyone agrees on.

This type of writing is more than erroneous and self-serving. It is actually revisionist history. This writer not only has the effrontery to characterize/imply that ERB's values were racist and/or supported white supremacy, whatever that is; but he has the outright gall to "speak for" ERB, making statements for Burroughs which are not based upon anything we know about ERB, nor anything we find in the books.

ERB was certainly prejudiced. He matured in the late 1800s. Who wasn't? Where in the world do these writers expect to find people who somehow adopted values which were wholly different from about 99.9% of their parents/peers/media? Where do they expect such people to obtain facts, such as we have now, which would tend to contradict such teachings?

Yet, although ERB would have had to have been born in the twilight zone not to have learned consistently prejudicial values, his  books reflect ideas and values which were so far ahead of his time that to characterize him as anything but wildly liberal is sheer lunacy.  This is a man who created a world populated by green, red, black, white, and yellow men; and who demonstrated clearly in those  books, 90 years ago, the absurdity of judging people  based upon color; and who examined the immense tendency of such people to nevertheless do so.

This is a man whose most famous creation suffered from discrimination when he was a child; who consistently befriended creatures and peoples of all races, religions, and creeds; and who treated and judged each and every person as an individual.

The Tarzan  books continually present heroic blacks, including Mugambi, the Waziri, and others.

They also present less than heroic  blacks, thus demonstrating that good and bad exist everywhere.

Does this writer think that Africa at the turn of the century was full of brain surgeons and nuclear physicists?  Although ERB's depiction of Africans was based upon scant knowledge, the fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as an "average" African. It's an entire continent, with widely varying peoples.  ERB portrays a scant few of such peoples.  I see nothing whatsoever wrong with his approach; nor do I think it's inaccurate for all natives.

This is the ERB who in 1927 wrote War Chief, which has nothing to do with "apologizing" for the Apache. ERB never apologized for anything or anyone. He examined and discussed why people and peoples act the way they do, whether it involves the same words for "stranger" as for "enemy", or whether some other concept.

To create a scenario in which ERB is purportedly agreeing with this absurd concept, and then to imply that ERB's Tarzan displayed characteristics which ERB was presenting mainly to highlight "what is wrong" with Tarzan/whites, etc. is absolutely outrageous and insults the man and his writing.

ERB needs no apologies. Nor does Tarzan of the Apes.

If this writer is on Jim's list, it's probably a good thing that I'm not, since I would go after him for this with both barrels.

I'm certainly not criticizing you, JON, since you should put up what people write. However, I am so opposed to this type of mindset, misinformation, and writing, especially about someone like ERB, that I could never keep silent about such crap. If people don't fight such absurdities, others will actually accept them.

I didn't care much for his discussion of War Chief as an apology for Native Americans as contrasted with ERB's pandering of white supremacist doctrines as evidenced by his supposed depiction of Africans, nor his (ERB's) subsequent comment that Tarzan is not always the hero, and found this to be nonsensical PC crap. Your web skills and photos were as superb as always, however.

Tarak
Lands of Adventure: http://www.geocities.com/danestargems/



Frank X. Blisard responds:
Dear Tarak:

Bill Hillman kindly forwarded to me your incisive comments on my novel, "Jack Of Time," currently serialized on his website.  I hope that you will read my response as intently as I have read your critique, which is actually the first substantial review of the
material in question, aside from glowing endorsements by like-minded associates.

It may surprise you to learn that I completely agree with your statement that ERB's "books reflect ideas and values which were so far ahead of his time that to characterize him as anything but wildly liberal is sheer lunacy."  That is precisely the point I have argued in the following articles:

(1) "Eclipsing Kipling: ERB and the Puzzling Pocatello Parody"  (BB #37/Winter 1999); and

(2) "Tarzan Versus Tarzan," Parts 1-4:
http://www.ERBzine.com/mag2/0291.html
http://www.ERBzine.com/mag2/0292.html
http://www.ERBzine.com/mag2/0293.html
http://www.ERBzine.com/mag2/0293.html

Now, as to terminology, let me attempt to clear up some apparent confusion: Nowhere in the story do I depict ERB as "apologizing" for anything.  The term I used is "apologia," which is (I admit) techincal academic jargon, of sorts; but the difference between an "apology" and an "apologia" is clearly delineated in Webster's:

"APOLOGY usu. applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to palliating circumstances....APOLOGIA implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position" (Webster's Collegiate, 10th ed. [1996], p.55).

In the context of my story, the term "apologia" is actually used in dialogue by one of the characters (DuBois), who is a dyed-in-the-wool and liberal-minded academician.  The term seemed to me perfectly suited to his vocabulary.  (I also happen to think that the term does in fact aptly describe what ERB was doing in his Apache novels, but that is another matter.)

As to my alleged depiction of "ERB's pandering of white supremacist doctrines...by his supposed depiction of Africans," again I must point out that this is my character DuBois's opinion, and definitely NOT mine.  I do believe that it very likely WAS the HISTORIC DuBois's actual opinion of ERB's contribution to our culture, even though I have not yet uncovered any evidence in DuBois's own writings that he even took notice of ERB's work. Nor have I yet been successful in getting DuBois's official  biographer (David Levering Lewis, at Rutgers Univ.) to reply to my inquiries on such matters.

I also dispute your analysis of "a scenario in which ERB is purportedly agreeing with this absurd concept [that his own work supported white supremacy?]."  What I have attempted to depict is an honest dialogue between ERB and DuBois (among others) about historic issues which they both lived through and on which they each had their respective impact.  I fully realize that DuBois was a committed communist and ERB an equally committed anti-communist; but I also think that ERB would have relished the opportunity to have a no-hold-barred debate with such a man as DuBois.  Jack London, one of ERB's favorite authors, was an avowed socialist, but that did not stop Burroughs from admiring London's art.

Where I DO depict ERB agreeing with DuBois is on the experience of     being on the "receiving end" of actual white supremacist policies -- such as that of the magazine which originally contracted with ERB for his "War Chief" story and then renegged because the "Red Man" was depicted too favorably!

Re: my "nonsensical PC...comment that Tarzan is not always the hero," I would repeat my ERB-character's admonition: "Go back and read it again."  As better ERB-scholars than I have pointed out, ERB was not above poking fun at his own hero(es); in fact, at times he even felt that Tarzan was somewhat of an albatross around his neck, keeping him from writing other kinds of fiction (see, for instance, Mike Orth's classic "Vaults of Opar" series). Mark Twain had the same problem vis-a-vis Tom Sawyer.  The stories in "Jungle Tales" especially fall into this category: Tarzan learns his lessons the hard way, like any adolescent who has slipped the restraints of parental authority.  And in the "Black Boy" in particular, I have always felt that it is Momaya and Tibo who are the real heroes of the piece--that Burroughs was saying something about the universal virtue of mother-love in that story.

Finally, no I don't "think that Africa at the turn of the century was full of brain surgeons and nuclear physicists."  But I do think that their ancestors built the damn pyramids, not to mention the famed fortresses of "Great Zimbabwe."  And the Zulus sure gave the British Army a run for their money at Sandhlwana, didn't they?  (Hint: rent the movie "Zulu Dawn.")

In short, yes I have "the outright gall to 'speak for' ERB"--he spoke for me in my youth, I feel I'm just returning the favor.  And I defy you, sirrah, to quote me chapter-&-verse where I have "misquoted" the Master of Adventure in my writing!

Kaor,
Frank X(onthron) Blisard
Frank Blisard Homepage
Blisard Watch! Meet Frank X. Blisard



4. MYSTERY PAINTING
Your site is incredible. I can't even begin to tell you how overwhelmingly awesome. I'm dizzy.

I wonder if you'd know the answer to a question: a few years ago, I bought a weatherbeaten oil painting at a garage sale in New York. I know a little about comic books, and it looked very much like a Neal Adams. It is definitely of Tarzan. It is such a beautiful painting that I paid to have it restored by a professional museum archivist here in Los Angeles. I would really love to find out more about this painting, which I believe is an Adams cover mock-up. But I've looked and looked, and haven't found the book it corresponds to. Would you be willing - or could you refer me to - somebody who I could email a foto of the painting to? I'd love to get some opinions on it.

thanks very much,

Dan Koeppel


5. Alain Valet
I was born in 1967, living in Arlon (Belgium), writing poetry for 10-13  years, making painting for 10 years, computer art with Photoshop for 3 or  4 years. I use classic technic of marbled painting in a modern way, I have  hundreds of paintings made in this technic, from business card format to 50  x 70 cm, also many China Ink works, color inks, collages, etc. etc. I'm always looking for new picture to see and new images to create.

Here are some of my pictures, collages realized partly with handy cut paper, partly with Photoshop on my computer.

Maybe one or two of these pictures could be the beginning for a writing contest on your site. A kind of interactivity between the images and the imagination of writers-readers of your site.

Waiting for your remarks and so on,
Alain Valet

Editor's Note:
Alain's suggestion that writers might use his art as a stimulus to create stories is a good one. How about it gang?

Star Trek
La Lune
Canyon
Vikings

Les Planetes Eclipse


6. MORE TARCOONS
The Ape-man has appeared many times in The New Yorker over the years.
Those appearances are collated, full-size, in the
NEW YORKER CARTOON BANK:
http://www.cartoonbank.com
We present here, as a collector's reference, an overview, in small preview thumbnails.


Tarzan hate frivolous lawsuits.
CAPTION: 
"Tarzan hate frivolous lawsuits."

(Tarzan is referring to signs he has posted: 
Swing At Your Own Risk. Keep Away From Edge. 
Maximum Weight 240 LBS.)


Oh, great! Here comes the policeman of the world again.
CAPTION:
"Oh, great! Here comes the policeman of the world again."

(Tarzan jumps out of tree toward monkeys playing dice.)


CAPTION: 
None

(Concession stand at movie theatre showing 
Walt Disney's Tarzan, offers bananas and steroids.)


Tarzan no want computer.
CAPTION: 
"Tarzan no want computer."

(Tarzan to two salesmen in the jungle, one holding a computer.)


7. OB WRITES HOME: 45.02.05
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42  Hawaii
February 5 1945
Joan darling:
After four days of cold rain and high winds, I finally got off
late Friday afternoon, arriving here about 4:30 A.M. (Honolulu
time) Saturday, after bucking a 48 mile an hour head wind for
14 hrs and 14 min.

A lieutenent met me at the train in S.F. with a staff car and
drove me to the airport, where I was treated wonderfully. In-
structions were given that if there was not a one bed room in
the Visiting Officers' Quarters, I was to have a two bed room
alone; so I had privacy.  The Visiting Officers' Mess was ex-
cellent. Everything was lovely but the weather, which, of
course you read about in the papers.

Friday morning I was process, getting another medical examination
and vaccination.  A very nice captain rushed me through and then
took me to the Officers' Club for luncheon, or rather, dinner.
He came back for me later and took me to the plane. He also got
me into compartment B, where I had the lower berth.

After eating four sandwiches, a hard boiled egg, fruit salad, po-
tato salad, cake crackers, soup, olives, and candy, I took two
nembutols and a . . . INCOMPLETE: EXCERPTS:
. . . a couple of good looking flight nurses came up and sat on the
edge of my bunk . . . Mildred Rathbone came along and
asked me to her apartment for highballs . . .
After dinner at the hotel, Henry Mahn asked me to come to
his quarters and play Whiskey Poker . . . served cherry brandy . . .
went out to call on Floye . . . They had bourbon . . .
back to the hotel for the Willey's Cocktail party. They had Scotch . . .

bed right after dinner and read Esquire until I feel asleep.

This evening, I am going with Mary Pflueger to Kit Carson's for
cocktails and dinner.  Tomorrow noon, I am going with Floye to
Lum Young's farewell luncheon to his son, who has been inducted.
Lum serves the most wonderful Chinese food you ever tasted.
Have been invited to another party for tomorrow evening, but I declined.
Enough is enough.

While I was at the Visiting Officers' Quarters I have mentioned,
I was sitting on the edge of my cot looking at the floor, when a
guy stopped at my door and asked what was the matter with me. I
said, "Nothing." He said, "You look blue,"  I replied that I was
not blue, I was only waiting. He said, "Come down to my room and
wait. I have a bottle of Spanish brandy."  I had never seen him
before, and couldn't tell his rank, as he wore only a pair of under-
shorts.  But I went along with him. He turned out to be a full
colonel in the Medical Corps, on his way  home to Camden, N.J., on
leave from the jungles.

On a table in his room was a full bottle of Green River Bourbon,
pre-war, that he was taking home to his wife.  After we had dis-
patched most of the Spanish Brandy, he gave me a carton of
Camels and the bottle of Green River.  Such are old friends in war time.

I keep thinking of the wonderful times I had back there with all
of you. They are very pleasant memories.

Am writing Dorothy to thank her and George for their many kindness-
es to me.  I shall tell her that I have written you all the horrible
details of my life since I left and rather than  write it all
over again I am asking you to let her read this letter, if she cares
to. Same for Jack and Jane.

All my love to all of you.

[SIG] Papa
Is your Phone State 45666?


8. A GREAT NEW JOHNNY WEISSMULLER WEBSITE
http://www.mergetel.com/~geostan/index.html
This site is dedicated to the Olympic champion Peter John Weissmuller, who, after winning an unprecedented five gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1924 and 1928, went on to become the best known and best loved of all the screen Tarzans. My interest in Johnny’s film career began when, as a child of six or seven, I was first exposed to the excitement of the Saturday matinee. And of all the film heroes I saw, he stood out like a beacon. Being fortunate enough to have grown up in Toronto, Canada, I could count on seeing his Tarzan and Jungle Jim films almost whenever I liked, since we had so many movie theatres and he was so popular with adults and children alike that they played regularly all over the city. In fact, I would go to the Film Exchanges on a regular basis and make a list of the theatres in which his films were to be shown.
~ Geoff St. Andrews

Some of the features in this site include:
Bibliography ~ Biography ~ Awards ~ Co-stars ~ MGM ~ RKO ~ Columbia ~ TV Series ~ Tarzan Yells ~ Locations ~ Animals ~ Video ~ Films ~ Photos ~ Film Music ~ Music Cues ~ Cable Schedule ~ Links ~ Bomba ~ Serial

KAOR BARSOOMIANS
VISIT YOUR NEAREST OBSERVATORY AND FOCUS ON OUR
JASOOMIAN SATURNALIAN LIGHT SHOW
HAPPY HOLIDAY



Volume 0552

BILL HILLMAN
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